Max Planck Research Group

Cogntive Neurology   Head:  Prof. Markus Ullsperger

(Kognitive Neurologie)

    Performance Monitoring and Flexible Goal-Directed Action in Humans:  Neuroanatomical, Physiological and Molecular Foundations

    The independent junior research group 'Cognitive Neurology' investigates how cognitive functions of the human brain facilitate flexible goal-directed behavior.

    (Def. cognition).
    Our research is particularly focused on the monitoring of action and action outcomes, error detection and behavioral adjustments as a consequence of performance/goal discrepancies. 

    In order to answer the question of how performance monitoring and subsequent behavioral adjustments are implemented in the human brain, we employ a broad spectrum of research methods both in healthy subjects as well as neurological, neurosurgical and psychiatric patients.  This investigative strategy enables us to span the array from molecular mechanisms to systemic factors subserving action outcome optimization.  The Cognitive Neurology team uses

    • functional and structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    • Positron Emission Tomography  (PET)
    • Electroencephalography (EEG), especially event-related potentials (ERP)
    • genetic investigations
    • psychopharmacological studies
    • neural network modeling

    Our goal:
    development of a neurobiologically plausible performance monitoring and action outcome optimization model of the human brain

    Goal setting and integrated methods of the junior research group 'Cognitive Neurology"'

    Meanwhile Prof. Markus Ullsperger works at the University of Magdeburg.

    Contact details


    Prof. Dr. Markus Ullsperger

    Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg

    Institut für Psychologie II, Abt. Neuropsychologie

    Universitätsplatz 2, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany

    phone: +49 (0)391 / 67 18475  

    fax: +49 (0)391 / 67 11401

    Further Information:

    EEG, fMRI: Methods

    Errors, Conflicts, and the Brain: Conference Proceedings (2004)

    Kognitive Höchstleistungen im Alltag: Short movie

    "Error Detection in the Gray Matter":

    Article on Spiegel-Online

    New Results:

    Genetically Determined Differences in Learning from Errors

    The complete data are published in Science magazine.

    See also: New Press Releases